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World Health Organization confirms second Ebola case in Congo outbreak

World Health Organization confirms second Ebola case in Congo outbreak

That experience helped Congolese authorities respond effectively to an outbreak in 2014 that killed dozens of people.

Health professionals are targeting the country's remote north-eastern province of Bas-Uele.

Nine suspected infections have been reported there, three of which have proved fatal. The disease is characterized by high temperatures, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in most cases, death.

BBC global health correspondent Tulip Mazumdar said the outbreak was "extremely worrying" for communities living in affected regions, but added that the DRC "has stamped out more Ebola outbreaks than any other place on earth".

A 2007 outbreak of this strain in Congo had a fatality rate of 74%, claiming 200 lives. The response by the Health Ministry and the WHO has been swift, mobilizing experts and biologists to work fast to contain the outbreak.

Three days prior, a team led by the DRC's Health Ministry began the trek to the Likati health zone to begin an investigation. The province is thousands of kilometres northeast of capital, Kinshasa.

"The first teams of epidemiologists, biologists, and experts in the areas of social mobilization, risk communication, and community engagement, and also personnel specializing in water, hygiene, and sanitation, are scheduled to reach the affected area today or tomorrow", explained Dr Yokouidé Allarangar, the World Health Organization representative in the DRC.

Till date, there is no approved vaccine to prevent the virus or treatment or cure.

Additional personnel, thermal scanners and sanitisers have been deployed in the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, as part of measures to forestall another round of Ebola outbreak in Nigeria.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a continent-wide mechanism to monitor disease outbreaks, said it had activated its emergency operational centre to monitor the situation in Congo. The CDC has a team in the country working on a monkeypox vaccine trial, she said.

In January 2016, World Health Organization declared the end of a two-year Ebola epidemic across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea that led to 28,000 people being infected with the virus.

It was not immediately clear how the first victim, a deceased male, caught the virus, although past outbreaks have been linked to contact with infected bush meat such as apes.